Disclaimer: the following information is from the most recent “Diploma’s Count” which tracks the class of 2009. However, as the chart below illustrates, over the 10 years from 1999 to 2009, New Mexico’s graduation rate was both lower than and more stagnant than other states in our region (I threw Florida in to illustrate the success of the “Florida Model.”)
Interestingly, Arizona was as aggressive as any among these states in terms of school choice. Utah, which graduates students at a rate that is 10%-plus above New Mexico’s spends nearly $4,000 less on a per-pupil basis than does the Land of Enchantment. The Beehive State (Utah) had adopted a “universal voucher” for school choice until the unions succeeded in convincing voters to kill the reform before it got started.
And, as much as I want to believe that New Mexico has dramatically improved its education results with the modest reforms pushed by Gov. Martinez, I await validation of these results on national reports like Diplomas Count. We’ll see.